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Title: Geographic population structure of the sugarcane borer, Diatraea saccharalis (F.) (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), in the southern United States

item JOYCE, A. - University Of California
item WHITE, W. - Louisiana Department Of Agriculture
item NUESSLY, G. - University Of Florida
item Solis, M Alma
item Scheffer, Sonja
item Lewis, Matthew
item MEDINA, R. - Texas A&M University

Submitted to: PLOS ONE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/28/2014
Publication Date: 10/30/2014
Publication URL:
Citation: Joyce, A.L., White, W.H., Nuessly, G.S., Solis, M.A., Scheffer, S.J., Lewis, M.L., Medina, R.F. 2014. Geographic population structure of the sugarcane borer, Diatraea saccharalis (F.) (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), in the southern United States. PLoS One. 9(10):1-10.

Interpretive Summary: The sugarcane borer causes extensive damage and is present in all sugarcane producing areas, especially Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. It is also pest of corn, rice, and sorghum. This study, based on molecular techniques, found that there may have been two introductions of the sugarcane borer into southeastern United States and discovered the possibility of a new, cryptic species within the sugarcane borer species. The existence of multiple sugarcane borer species can aid in the development of more efficient management techniques that may result in less insecticide usage. These results will be useful to control workers, farmers, and conservationists.

Technical Abstract: The sugarcane borer moth, Diatraea saccharalis, is widespread throughout the Western Hemisphere, and is considered an introduced species in the southern United States. Although this moth has a wide distribution and is a pest of many crop plants including sugarcane, corn, sorghum and rice, it is considered one species. The objective was to investigate whether more than one introduction of D. saccharalis had occurred in the southern US and whether any cryptic species were present. We field collected D. saccharalis in Texas, Louisiana and Florida in the southern United States. Two molecular markers, AFLPs and mitochondrial COI, were used to examine genetic variation among these regional populations and to compare the sequences with those available in GenBank and BOLD. We found geographic population structure in the southern United States which suggests two introductions and the presence of a previously unknown cryptic species. Management of D. saccharalis would likely benefit from further investigation of population genetics throughout the range of this species.